Heres my $0.02 worth to the topic of raising worms. Many years ago my father actually raised worms. His worm beds were outside.
One of the main concerns is keeping the worms in the bed and not escaping. Worms don't like strong light so at night (or in any dark environment) he had lights over the beds.
Also, one source of food for the worms was cardboard boxes. They love it. He would get used boxes for free from the grocery store and tear them up to large flat pieces. These were then laid on top of the worm beds and watered down. The next day if you lifted one of the pieces of cardboard, the bottom of it would be full of worms eating away. Other than that we actually fed the worms chicken feed. Obviously cardboard and chicken feed aren't going to be around much in the Aftertime but I thought it might be some food for thought.
Also the soil needs to be kept loose. We accomplished this by sprinkling the surface with hay and then using a pitchfork, turning and mixing the entire bed.
Another issue if your worm bed is kept outside is animals. Here in Texas we have lots of armadillos and they love worms. You must have some sort of fence to keep this type of critter out.
Offered by Michael.
The main reason why worms would crawl out of the bed is that the bedding wouldn't be comfortable for the worms, this could have many different reasons:
- soil too soggy
- food rotting
- temperature too high/low
In order to prevent this, make sure the bedding/soil etc. are good. Also, cover the bed with a piece of carpet made of non-natural fibers (will be eaten otherwise). Also, bedding must be deep enough for crawlers, and there must be enough food available for wriglers. Worms in general need soil, where they eat it so that the tiny grains within it can be used within the stomach that stretches over the entire body of the worm, it helps the worm with digestion. In general, earthworms need an environment not too wet and not dry, so they can't be kept in a place where they are submerged, so to speak. Worms also shy away from light, if there is a way to avoid light in the system to reach the worms (by a form of covering) then that is problem solved, too. Earthworms eat pre-digested compost (the red worms eat the compost and output vermiculite which the earthworms eat outputting an even finer form of vermiculite, which comes out via the drainage together with the water as an excellent fertilizer).
Offered by Michel.